Which is to say, I am at a conference. So far it's been a really good conference.
Imma gonna fall over into my bed momentarily.
ETA 8/17/17 21:16: Still conferencing. I move that henceforth anything called a "BBQ" must serve something cooked with barbecue sauce; absence that criterion, it is a "cookout".
Someone at the conference gave me copy of this drawing which I hadn't seen before, and which made me tear up.
Bootstrapping problem: I still have to decide whether or not to try to get there in time tomorrow for the morning talks, or catch some additional Zs; the problem is I am now so exhausted my judgment is not just impaired but kind of non-functional. Normally, I'm pretty good at blowing things off to get more rest. This is, however, effectively a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, of which I would like to make the most.
"As I hear all the tawdry details of Jenner's story, I am also re-reading 'How Sex Changed' by Joanne Meyerowitz. [...] In it, Meyerowitz discusses the reactions to Christine Jorgensen's coming out in the 1950s, and how both her tale and many others who came out shortly thereafter, were steeped in the same sort of salaciousness as the promotions for Jenner's autobiography.
"Upon reflection, I realize, too, that every transgender person - and not just the Jorgensens and Jenners - face this same sort of thing. When you are trans, the standards of privacy are thrown out the window. We are expected to share our most intimate details to anyone we come across.
"Without exception, any time I was interviewed in any depth, I found myself asked about my name prior to my transition, or for photos of myself from my youth, or for details of any surgeries I may have undertaken. It really didn't matter if any of that would be relevant to the story: my disclosure was simply expected.
"The same standard is not expected of non-transgender people. Maiden names and other such things are considered private enough to be used as security features with banks and other institutions. Non-transgender strangers don't expect details of another's hysterectomies or vasectomies unless they happen to be medical professionals. So many things are naturally considered one's own private business.
"The minute one divulges one is transgender, however, all bets are off. What's more, to make an issue about such questions is to risk being panned as deceptive."
-- Gwendolyn Ann Smith, 2017-04-27
I don't know how couples manage to pull off weddings when they (a) haven't already been together for a decade and (b) are still in their early twenties and don't know how to organize big projects yet. (I mean, I know that the answer is mostly "lean heavily on their parents", "spend lots of money on paying people to do it", and/or "be super-duper stressed out by the whole process".) I'm just saying, it's a big undertaking, and I'm glad that we already know how to work together and that we know how to organize things so shit gets done.
Also, it's very entertaining how often one of us has said "So about this thing, I was thinking X," and the other has said "That's exactly what I was thinking."
There's still a fair number of things to do, but we've got all the essentials sorted out, and yesterday we made the master checklist of everything that has to happen between now and the day, and that was very helpful. (It was trying to mentally keep track of things that was stressing me out more than anything. Now that it's all written down I can just focus on what to do next.)
I realize I've been very scanty on details here, but it's because we're doing a bunch of neat stuff that I think will be even more enjoyable for the guests if there's no hype for it. It's gonna be good.
Okay, we haven't been up to much other than wedding prep, but there has been some stuff. Saturday before last there was a bonfire at Bob & Pyro's, which was lovely. Well, no actual bonfire, because it got rained out, but we still had an excellent time hanging out with bears in the barn. I made chocolate mousse, in large part because I had an inedible 99% cacao chocolate bar that I was able to use up by melting it and mixing it with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Then on Sunday we had the Kuma Go-Go (the five bears in our D&D group) over for practice cake-cutting. We played a bunch of Jackbox games on the Nintendo afterwards and had some good hangout time.
Had several short workdays last week because I was either meeting with people (like a collaborator from GFDL in town to visit our local NOAA collaborators) and had no brain left for other work when it was done or because I was running errands. I got a nice visit with Grandma & my uncle Dave on Wednesday. She's doing alright, but is definitely slowing down. Played some more Spirit Island at Chris's games night Thursday. I played a medium complexity spirit and felt like I had the hang of it, and we won pretty handily Maybe soon we'll finally be ready to start playing the full game!
On Saturday I manned a booth for the Inclusivity Board at Westy Fest for a couple hours. We didn't have a huge number of visitors, but we got good comments from those who did drop by. Lots of concerns about gentrification near the new train station and in the redevelopment of the area where the old mall used to be. I signed up for the 10-noon slot because I didn't want to lose the whole day to it, and I'm glad I did because the event got rained out later in the afternoon -- I guess it was a really severe storm that destroyed tents and everything! I'm grateful to be on the board, because with the news full of would-be fascist idiocy and other terrible things happening far away where I can't do anything about it, at least I have something that I'm involved in locally pushing in the opposite direction that might do some good.
I asked folks what polyamory seminars they’d like me to teach – because I do teach seminars – and got a lot of good suggestions.
Mostly for classes I’m unqualified to teach.
I’m putting this list out here, because I think these are great topics that I’d like to see covered in-depth some day. If these topics are in your wheelhouse, please consider pitching this topic to your local conventions/training sources! And if you do teach them, feel free to leave comments (with dates/locations of your upcoming classes) to spread your wisdom around!
Raising Kids While You’re Polyamorous.
There was an excellent seminar on that at Beyond the Love a couple of years ago, but it was focused on raising kids in a poly commune. Never having raised kids while poly, I’d love to hear more tips and tricks about balancing privacy, childrens’ safety, and potential legal concerns.
Effective Polyamorous Communes.
I’ve seen a lot of poly groups move in together. Most of ’em fell apart shortly thereafter. I’d love to see a discussion of best practices on how to handle finances, romances, etc in a close-contact environment. Bonus if you’re not an extrovert and can tell us introverts how to survive.
Polyamorous Legal Concerns.
Wills and living arrangements and marriages, wow! I’m totally not a lawyer, but this would be a fascinating topic for a professional who’s specialized in these topics. (I suspect this would only be useful on a state level, but hey.)
You’d think I’d be good at scheduling, with my many partners, but the truth is that they’re good enough at scheduling to cover for my manifest weaknesses. I’d love to see someone(s) discuss how to schedule time effectively, how to handle conflict in events, how to reserve enough time for each partner who needs it (including you), etc.
Forging Better Bonds With Metamours.
Some of the most stressful situations in poly involve your partner’s partners – and all too often they’re seen as either your BEST FRIENDS EVER or alien beasts you beam communications through a third party to. I’d love to see a class from someone with a long history of effectively communicating with people on the other side of their lovers.
Now, if any of those classes seem like something you could cohere a 50-minute talk on, I’ll note that The Geeky Kink Event is taking applications for November, and though Beyond The Love’s presentation window has just closed, they do have lunchtime pop-up seminars and maybe you might wanna talk to them.
And if you have any questions on teaching, ask me! It’s both simpler and more complex than you think. But not enough qualified people do it.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
The article has some interesting stats in it.
(I'm morbidly curious to know where you can score a private nursing home room for only $92k/yr. I presume it's somewhere very rural and far away from here, with terrible care, because by Massachuetts prices that's an incredible bargain.)
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2016-12-01:
"This generally has been called the "hate election" because everyone professed to hate both candidates. It turned out to be the hate election because, and let's not mince words, of the hatefulness of the electorate. In the years to come, we will brace for the violence, the anger, the racism, the misogyny, the xenophobia, the nativism, the white sense of grievance that will undoubtedly be unleashed now that we have destroyed the values that have bound us. We all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone.
"We all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone. In its absence, we may realize just how imperative that politesse was. It is the way we managed to coexist.
"If there is a single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: "He says the things I'm thinking." That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? Who knew that tens of millions of white men felt so emasculated by women and challenged by minorities? Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool's paradise. Now we aren't."
-- Neal Gabler, in his essay Farewell, America.
(submitted to the mailing list by Mike Krawchuk)
2) Okay, I'm now in correspondence with the manufacturer of one of the sets of 5W bulbs that didn't work. They asked about the competitor bulbs that worked, and said they will scare some up to compare with their product. ETA 8/13/17 11:10PM: I have just got a full refund and a thank you note for supplying such detailed information, which is being passed on to the R&D team.
As you may have noticed, I tend to write about whatever I'm thinking about. Normally, that's (1) my psychotherapy clients and the issues that come up when working with them, (2) minds, more generally, and (3) the larger world around me, i.e. current events, politics, sociology, anthropology, economics, etc.
In an important sense, what I write about is my reaction to what I encounter in my life.
Right now my life is very rich in contact with the healthcare industry. There's D's health issues, my health issues (nothing new and alarming), my clients' health issues, and current events having to do with health insurance and medicine. So I have about a million and one things to say about healthcare.
Except that even I am getting bored of healthcare.
And, perhaps more importantly, I really have other topics that it feels to me would be much better use of my time. In this day in history, I don't think tackling problems in the US healthcare system is at all the best use of myself – as important as these things are, it feels a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
This is not a general sense of futility. I have a huge amount of things in my head that I think sharing could be a very useful contribution to the Very Long Game. I understand what is going on in the US right now very, very, very differently than almost every other commentor. This is what I ardently want to be writing about.
If I could – ugh! – just get my head clear of all this incredibly boring healthcare stuff.
So what's been happening on the back end here, in Siderealand, is that I am oscillating rapidly and not at all profitably between the previously alluded to monster healthcare post (or series) and tackling some of the Very Long Game topics – interrupted by the occasional hot take on current events (you have no idea how badly I want to respond to the Sexist Googler Memo, while at the same time very badly wanting not to have to finish reading the Sexist Google Memo, much less start again from the beginning this time taking notes) – and never actually getting any one thing finished. I'll try to work on the monster healthcare post and my mind will wander off in boredom; so I'll try to work on something more important, but then I'll have to treat a patient or get my own medical care or deal with D's health issues, and my attention is wrenched back to healthcare and healthcare-related observations flood my mind. Argh.
I've been feeling unwell, physically, in ways that are also making concentration hard. This makes the VLG stuff particularly daunting, because it involves having to explain a lot of background and conceptual stuff to get where I am trying to go. I mean, that's the whole point of the exercise. And that takes - or so I find – a lot of concentration to do at all, much less well.
So, for instance, today was supposed to be a writing day, but I woke up, for no reason I can tell, exhausted and having trouble marshalling words. *throws hands up in the air* Before writing this, I took a break to play some flash games and, wow, does my judgment and reaction time suck.
So I guess we'll see what I come up with. Sigh.
ETA: Ahahah, and I managed to initially post this technically wrongly, trying a second time, see if I manage to get it to my journal.
ETA2: I feel I should mention, part of why my contact with healthcare is up is that my clinical caseload is up: I have more patients. Which is wonderful and makes me happy.
It draws unapologetically on her own personal experience of identifying with the X-Men to heal from the trauma of radiation poisoning, subsequent chronic illness, being a refugee, and being bullied.
I haven't read it yet, just excerpts, but it looks lovely. Illustrated by Wellinton Alves of Marvel and DC.
One of the worst moments in polyamory is the first date.
Your first poly date is usually this exciting squiggle of “Where is this going?” and flirtatious arm-touches and effervescent ZOMG I LIKE THEM and maybe even some hot smooching. And it’s great, ‘cuz it’s you.
But their first poly date, where you’re the one at home cooling your heels while you’re imagining their flirtatious arm-touches and trying not to break down in jealousy?
That can be a long night.
And I get asked, “How do you cope when your partner starts dating?” And the answer is threefold:
I Trust They’d Tell Me If Things Were Bad.
Sometimes I worry that they’re dating because I’m fucking up in some way. Then I remember how honest they’ve been with me. They’ve told me about any issues between us as soon as they figured out what it was.
I trust my partners to come to me when something is going wrong.
So I trust that if there was a problem, I’d know.
A lot of the jealousies swirling around new poly tend to be, “Is there something wrong with me? Is this a prelude to a breakup?” And honestly, if you’re going for the “Hail Mary” of “We’re not getting along but maybe fucking other people will bring us closer together,” it might well be.
But if this has been a studied expansion, where you’ve talked about dating other people and are now exploring it, hopefully you trust that your partner would tell you if they were seeking other lovers because you were failing them. But they’re not. Healthy polyamory’s not an attempt to replace a broken system, but to expand it to include others.
They’re not dating me because I’m failing them, but because we believe a) that having other emotionally-fulfilling relationships is good, and b) those relationships can include sex. (And often, c) we’re both a little slutty.)
It shouldn’t be a threat if my partner has good friends they talk to. Their desire to see a movie with someone else isn’t a refutal of who we are.
This is just an extension of that logic. And nothing has to be wrong with me, or us, for them to desire someone else.
(I mean, I desire other people and it doesn’t lessen my affection for my existing partners. But that’s easy to remember when I’m in the driver’s seat.)
I Trust In My Own Uniqueness.
The media frames a lot of sex as a competition – whoever’s got the bigger dick wins. And if your partner’s girlfriend is hotter than you are, girl, she will steal your man.
That’s not necessarily true, though.
An odd fact about polyamory is that your partners are often drawn to people totally unlike you. That’s often a source of friction – you’re organized and reliable, why are they dating this sloppy hedonist?
The answer is, dating you provides all the you they need. They’re stocked up on “neat” and “reliable” simply because you’re doing a great job! Now they’re unconsciously seeking people who have other traits they find desirable.
And if you’re not careful, you dismiss your own talents and focus on the things you don’t have. Oh, she’s really good at talking dirty, I can’t do that. She loves that country music I can’t stand. She’s a better cook.
When you do that, you forget the things your lover might say about you if they were forced, somehow, to evaluate you as a direct comparison. They’re a way better cuddler. They know how to make me feel better after a hard day at work. They love the movies I do.
You gotta trust in your own uniqueness. This isn’t a zero-sum game where the person who ticks off the most marks on the checklist walks away with the prize. Yes, your partner’s new lover may be a better kisser, but trust that your sexual skills have something to be desired even if you can’t see it right now.
Trust that there’s also reasons to want you.
I Trust That Some Relationships Need To Be Over.
This is the tough one. Because yeah, sometimes when people fling themselves into polyamory, they do find someone more suitable and they do leave the old partners behind and they don’t communicate their problems until it’s too late to do anything about them.
I trust it’s better to know that we’re not meant for each other.
And you’ll see plenty of couples tapdancing around some fundamental incompatibility – he wants kids/she doesn’t, she wants deep emotional relationships/he doesn’t, he wants to get married/he doesn’t – and rather than look squarely at the irreconcilable difference and walk away, they instead push it off for years, grinding agony the whole time.
And in the end, they often give in to something they never wanted to happen, or they break up after years of intimacy.
That’s a lot harder than acknowledging it early and breaking it off while it’s still nascent.
So I take the attitude with relationships that I do with medical tests: No, I don’t want this, but if I have some terminal condition, it’s better to know right away.
Maybe my lover will discover that they’re polyamorous and I’m not. That’s not great, but it’s good for us both to know who we are – and if that’s not compatible, let’s examine it.
I don’t want to lose anyone, but if there are problems in this relationship, let’s highlight what they are and see whether we can fix it. Or not.
And it’s a weirdly calm trust, because this is the one that brings me back to reality: Yes, I love her. But are we really as good for each other as we think we are? Maybe I’m putting this relationship on a pedestal.
And then the old prayer: It’ll work if it’s meant to be.
And honestly, it mostly has worked out. Dating mature partners who discuss things generally turns out to be stable. They can see other people and come back to me and be just as excited – sometimes more so, because I’m actually enabling them to have wonderful relationships and so they come to associate me as “That person I love who wants me to have so much beauty in my life.” And they date other people, as I do, but in the end the thing I have to offer is “I’m that person who really, demonstrably, wants the best for them.”
That’s a helluva strength to bring to the table.
It can be okay.
You just gotta trust.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
"Intimacy is that state in which, as Malamud Smith wrote, 'people relax their public front either physically or emotionally or, occasionally, both... [One] comes as close as one is capable of, or as close as one feels permitted, to revealing oneself to another person.'
"Intimacy has to be voluntary. It can't be forced, presumed, or automated, and as such, it runs counter to the logic of conventional surveillance, which enrolls us before and regardless of whether we're aware or consent.
"Surveillance culture, therefore, is fundamentally inhumane: as Dr. Hortense Spillers recently said, losing the ability to choose connection is a paradigmatic sign that one is not free."
-- Keisha E. McKenzie, 2017-03-07
I went forth and ordered bulbs. I got a pair that were 4W and 4500K that only put out 300 or so lumens and were very blue-white. They worked, but it was like being in an aquarium, and not good for reading, so I decided I need to find bulbs that were brighter but with a warmer color.
So I ordered a pack of 5W, 470 Lumen, 2700K bulbs.
They didn't work. I put them in the socket, flicked the switch back and forth, and nothing happened.
I figured I was shipped some dud bulbs, so I reported them defective, and got my money back.
But I still didn't have bulbs I liked, so I tried again from another vendor, ordering 5W ("40W replacement"), 3000K bulbs from a different manufacturer.
They didn't work either.
So at this point, I don't think it's that the bulbs are defective, since now I have four of them that don't work, from two different manufacturers.
I have four sets of bulbs:
0) The last two incandenscants that worked, but which are now both burnt out. I have kept them as references.
1) The first pair of LEDs bulbs, the unsatisfactory weak 4W blue-white ones. They still work fine. They're what I'm using now.
2) The second pair of LED bulbs, which are 5W/2500K, and don't work.
3) The third pair of LED bulbs, which are 5W/3000K, and don't work.
I have discovered that the incandescents have something in common with the (working) first pair of LEDs that the (non-working) second and third pair of LEDs don't: the contact on the bottom of the bulb on the non-working LEDs is a smidge – like half a milimeter – longer.
I repeat: the non-working bulbs are a teeny bit longer in the contact that goes in the socket. The little bump on the end.
I have no idea what to do with this information. Like, why are these bulbs slightly the wrong size to fit in my lamp? But still called E17? And why is it that it's the 5W bulbs that are like this? Are all 5W LED bulbs like this? Is there a way to shop for bulbs that will fit my lamp? Is there a way to fix my lamp or the bulb so these will work?
Ah, the trials and tribulations of garage bands. The bickering. The struggling for bookings. The desperation to get noticed by industry decisionmakers. The unexplained discharge of huge electromagnetic/nuclear forces.
A short "sci-fi rock-and-roll adventure" film about a small band with a big problem: an inexplicable tendency to burn down the house. Literally. [13 minutes, Vimeo]
So for my birthday, I got myself an expensive gift I didn’t want:
A personal trainer.
I don’t want a personal trainer because I hate exercise and I hate going someplace else to exercise and I hate paying money to have strangers judge my body. But I also recognize that my fitness has never been great, and perhaps I don’t know how to push myself properly (which is a real concern when you have both heart problems and a proven inability to recognize fatal pain), and so I signed up for a couple of months with a personal trainer as an experiment. Just to see whether it would make a difference.
And this trainer seemed nice. She told me she was not the ooh-rah trainer who says you’re not done until you’re barfing. She was a physical therapist who’d dealt with heart patients before, and could make long-term changes conducive to my benefit.
So as I went to the trainer yesterday, I was nervous. I’m not a weightlifter. Would she have me doing laps around the gym? Would it be the medicine ball? Would I be completely useless after the session, my every muscle quivering?
As it turned out, my job was to stand there while they critiqued.
I failed at standing.
“See how his hip is turned out?” she asked her fellow trainer, who was called in for a consultation. “All his weight is on his left foot.”
“Dangerous to let a man like that exercise,” the other trainer agreed, and I was shuttled off to a massage room where she jammed the inside of my hip, telling me to relax as she rammed stiff fingers dangerously close to my crotch, reminding me to breathe.
“You’re very shielded,” she said, wrenching me aside. “I can’t get this muscle to release.” And then, five minutes later: “That’ll do.”
She didn’t get it to release, but apparently she’d given up on me.
Then she had me breathe.
I failed breathing.
Apparently, there’s a way you breathe from your diaphragm in a way that makes your crotch tighten, and if that sounds sexy I assure you it was not. All my breath was in, apparently, my chest. It’s supposed to be in my diaphragm, which is to say my belly, and I did that wrong. She had me on my knees, palm on my stomach, urging me to do something with my belly button to bring it against my spine, and eventually she sighed and called out, “We’re putting him on his back. He can’t do the APT.”
Even on my back, I didn’t breathe properly. She said, encouragingly, that I’d learn, but it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’ve just failed standing and breathing. I’m not sure what else there is to fail, but I’m sure I’ll find out.
So I have a sheet of exercises. When I head towards the bathroom, I am instructed to take a moment in the hall to twist my leg and loosen the hip, or to stand with my back against the wall and press out. My hip aches from where she pressed hard enough to bruise it.
I thought personal training would be gruelling – and to be fair, I was sweaty and tired at the end of it. And I’m sure it’ll ramp up over time.
I just thought it would be more “You’re too weak to lift this weight” and less “You’re too incompetent to breathe,” you know?
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
I will not eat all the Firework Oreos in one sitting.
I will not eat all the Firework Oreos in one sitting.
I will not eat all the Firework Oreos in one sitting.
I will not eat all the Firework Oreos in one sitting.
I will not eat all the Firework Oreos in one sitting.
Goals Completed: 8
Goals in Progress: 38
This is the first chance I've had to update my journal in a while. I have just gotten back from an almost two-week roadtrip going across almost all of the country with a friend, helping her move all of her possessions that she had in Michigan to Portland. I have reorganized and filled in a lot of the gaps on my 101/1001 list, and my list is now pretty full.
As a result of the roadtrip, I haven't been to the gym in more than two weeks and have engaged in no physical training at all. This raises some concerns as to my ability to run the Spartan this year. Also, other than some mindful eating practices, I haven't done any mind/spiritual practices. Also, there's been no maintenance tasks, nor preparation for the Zombies, other than some work on the Whorse (still at the mechanic's shop).
However, in the Travel/Adventure section, there's been some substantial progress. We visited the Grosse Pointe lighthouse, a freshwater lighthouse near Chicago, and we visited the St. Louis Arch and the Old Courthouse (and earned the Junior Ranger badge) for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial site. I hadn't realized that this courthouse was where the Dred Scott Case was heard, and I enjoyed the exhibits and the history. We found a lot of very old geocaches, including the oldest remaining geocache in nine different states (Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Colorado, and Nevada). We found the largest ball of twine in the US, and well as the Geographical and Geodetic Centers of the US, in Kansas. We visited Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and Arches National Park (earning more Junior Ranger badges!), and we spent time with friends and family throughout the trip - although I never heard back from my brother in California and wasn't able to visit him.
Now, I've got a lot of catch up to do before I leave for Burning Man. The decking on Ol' Number 3, training for the Spartan, the Whorse, and a thousand other tasks are calling my name. *smile*
"In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris -- often masked as charisma or charm -- are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.
"The paradoxical implication is that the same psychological characteristics that enable male managers to rise to the top of the corporate or political ladder are actually responsible for their downfall. In other words, what it takes to get the job is not just different from, but also the reverse of, what it takes to do the job well. As a result, too many incompetent people are promoted to management jobs, and promoted over more competent people."
-- Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?", 2013-08-22
There are a lot of typos where words are missing from the text. I checked a copy of this book out of the library and someone had penciled in a couple of corrections here and there, but there were so many of these mistakes throughout the book.
I had hoped that the first part of this book would be a detailed war story like Bravo Two Zero, but it wasn't. In a way, I felt that this did not build up the remarkable accomplishment that it is to become a Navy SEAL enough. That part of the story was treated almost like a suicide wish when it really wasn't. Becoming a Navy SEAL is a lot of dangerous work and a very important part of Kris's history and identity. Kris spent 20 years in the Navy before retiring and transitioning. Wikipedia has all the awards and decorations listed.
In the beginning of the book, Anne writes about telling Kris's story. I don't think that she actually interviews anyone outside of the people that Kris invites her to meet. She rarely gets the perspective of other people outside of people that they are having a meal with at the moment. I thought that this was a shortcoming of the book. In the GQ interview that came after this book, the journalists actually spoke to Kris's colleague Mike about one of Kris's first forays into living an authentic life. That interview also mentions a person who I am assuming to be Kris's third wife. It also talks about how the hormones were causing problems, and Kris had to stop taking them.
The writing gets much better around the chapter titled "Briefing with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense & Meeting Anne."
Kristin's gender identity issues started early in life, but she kept them hidden. Wearing women's clothing was a self-soothing behavior. Throughout the book, there are these questions about being attracted to men, and I really don't think Kris is attracted to men.
Chris was away from his first wife a lot of the time that they were married. His children did not see him often, and they were afraid of him. A lot of people in the military have this problem where their significant others build up lives without them, out of necessity, while they are gone, and there is no space for the military spouse in the lives of the people who were left behind when they get back. Chris had 13 deployments and 7 of those were in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.
I thought that the material covered in this book was interesting, but I wanted this to be a better book than it was.
Posted by Cato the Elder, Baltimore (I don't see a link directly to the comment this is from, so scroll way down):
Cicero's First Oration Against Trump (a newly discovered fragment)"
How long, Trump, will you try our patience with your presence? How long will you mock us with your egregious narcissism? When is there to be an end to your unbridled audacity, paraded before us as it does now? Do not the nightly broadcasts of the national news networks -- do not the front pages of the morning newspapers throughout the country -- does not the alarm of the people and the opposition of all good men -- does not the rush for the exits, the dramatic increase in the application of our students to schools abroad -- do not the looks and countenances of our most admired and venerable statesmen, have any effect on you? Do you not feel that your hollowness is exposed? Do you not see that your actions reveal not the considered thought of a bright original mind, but of one with small hands trying to appear "like a smart man"? What is there that you tweeted last night and what the night before -- where is it that you were -- who was there that you summoned to meet you in your tower -- what design was there which was adopted by you, that was no more than a temporary move that we all know will be abandoned or flatly contradicted in the next moment?
Shame on the age and on its morals! The Congress is aware of these things; the President sees them for what they are; and yet this man continues. Continues! Yes, he is even elected. He makes public pronouncements before the commencement of his term in office; he is watching and marking down and checking off for isolation every individual among us. I, even if alone, will not attend his inauguration. While other, honorable men that they are, think that they are doing their duty to the Republic, if they merely keep out of the way of his frenzied attacks....
-- Cato the Elder, Baltimore
But today – literally today, I was just at the grocery – bread sold as pumpernickel and rye are as fluffly and yielding as white bread. They have no solidity, no heft. And they work terribly, IMHO, under load.
It's not just the breads in the bread aisle like this either; the fancy gourmet stuff in the bakery area is the same. You can sometimes get crusty loaves of one thing or another, but under the crusts it's all squishy. It's been a while since I've seen "peasant style" cakey loaves of whole grain flours.
And while the problem is worst for rye and pumpernickel, I have gotten the impression that mass commercial sliced wheat breads have also changed in texture, having gone from grainy and crumbly in my youth, to glossy and fluffy today.
I'm not imagining this, am I? What the hell happened to bread?
Is it still possible to get a traditional, dense pumpernickel in the Boston area? I mean, by the loaf; all the restaurants I have gotten sandwiches at still have a source for real, sandwich-weight pumpernickel, so clearly there's a wholesale source. Is there a retail one?
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2017-03-25:
"I grew up in New Orleans, where no one did anything. It's an endlessly charming and delightful place, but the idea that your worth was connected to things you did in the world was an alien idea." -- Michael Lewis, author of the bestsellers Moneyball and The Big Short, in praise of laziness.
(submitted to the mailing list by Terry Labach)
Oh, right. Questions about wait times, questions about courtesy, questions about cleanliness, questions about communication.
No questions about efficacy of or satisfaction with the medical care. To say nothing of more specific questions about what care was provided.
I mean, just a simple, "Was this appointment helpful to you?" would be nice. Also questions along the line of "Do you feel your medical problem successfully addressed?" and "Were you told what, if anything, you need to do for follow up care of your medical problem?" might be nice.
Because as it stands, nothing in the questionaire I got would have captured my discontent at certain appointments I've had where the treater was useless – "Don't know what's wrong with you, can't help you, can't think of anybody to refer you to. Good luck, have a nice life." – but by gum saw me on time and was polite.
But I don't think they want to know the answers to those questions. If they're doing with these surveys what that ethnography described, well, then, they're not interested in solving medical problems. They're interested in solving lucrative medical problems, which means dismissing expensive time-consuming mysteries from their offices as quickly and expeditiously as possible. As such, the answers to asking patients, "So was your condition actually treated?", is perhaps not a comfortable thing to contemplate.
Guy Branum: "I have long maintained that politics is show-business for people without the skillset for the musical theater. It's why so many closeted guys become Republican congressmen. [...]"
Jon Lovett: "This is like Brigadoon, but for privatizing Social Security"
-- from Lovett Or Leave It, 2017-04-22 (recorded 2017-04-21)
Hello from Amazon, you're receiving this because you've recently placed an order on Amazon with your business-issued credit card.Free two-day shipping would be nice. Is there some catch?
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(Business-Only Pricing doesn't sound good – in my experience products and services for "business" are often extortionate, or, at best, simply discounts on bulk purchases that make no sense for my tiny business. Is Amazon Business any different?)
The original Spanish critter is roughly equivalent to the English hobgoblin or brownie. The original form of the word, in Old Spanish, was duen de casa, master/lord of a house (the first part being from Latin dominus), and apparently was originally conceived of as a ghost-like spirit that possessed a house.